The Halfway House

part 2 of 2

Click Here To Read The First Half in Issue 93


The Flat Screen


The smoke from the bonfire had winded us, and we’d slowed to a fast walk to catch our breaths.

“I killed you, Dad.”

“Don’t talk to him!” said Lucy.

Even the walls seemed to move now. Strange colors sparked out of them, ethereal fires.

“I’m proud of you for kicking the cocaine, Lucy.”

“I haven’t quit! I’m just taking a break.”

“You really should quit, Lucy.”

“I know.”

“It’s not good for little girls.”

“Nothing is good here, Robert.”

“It’s Carl, Lucy. I’m Carl.”


She walked so calmly, brushing her hair to get it out of her face, watching the colored sparks swirl around us. I felt almost peaceful.

“Lucy, how did you die?”

“I was murdered. I told you.”

“Who was it?”

“My mother.”

“How did she do it?”

“Why do you want to know?”

“No reason. Lucy, where are we going?”

“We’re gonna kill Big Daddy. Or die trying. Ha ha ha!”

“If we get back, you can live with me. I’ll sell shoes, and you can go to school. Would you like that?”

“We’re not back yet. Besides, we still have to deal with Mr. Hu.”

“You know Mr. Hu?”

She nodded.

“He worked with me before you came.”

“You never told me that!”

We had come to a dead end in the tunnel. Sticking out of the wall was a screen, like an AI’s window into aether, only larger. There weren’t any buttons.

“It’s a spy panel,” said Lucy.

On impulse, I waved at the screen.

“Quit it, dummy,” she said. “We have to get through it.”

Suddenly the screen leaped to life; the air filled with crackling ozone.

I covered Lucy’s eyes. On screen was Evelyn Chambers, a woman I’d known years before, sitting on a bed without clothes on, staring out at us. Greenish purple bruises covered her body. Her lips formed the words:

“This is what you wanted to do to me, isn’t it, Carl. But you weren’t man enough for it. Now I have someone who can do it to me all the time . . .

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About Robin Wyatt Dunn

3 2
Robin Wyatt Dunn writes and teaches in Los Angeles. He's online at
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